Thanks for wearing your lucky socks, but now it’s time to break out your lucky pants (that’s underpants for you Americans)! That is of course if you’re one of the estimated 5 million English who regularly participate in superstitious pre-match rituals before a game of football (soccer) in order to help your team win. Count them down, how many do you do?
1. Watch the game with the same group of friends every time
2. Watch the game in the same place every time (same pub, house etc)
3. Sing the same football chant
4. Kiss the badge on your football shirt
5. Wear the same item of clothing for every game
6. Wear the same lucky socks
7. Wear the same lucky pants – thankfully games are rarely back to back on consecutive days!
8. Have sex before the game – or more bizarrely, abstain from sex before the game
9. Watch from a lucky chair or seat
10. Wear a lucky hat
Superstition is an interesting thing, possibly the most interesting is that a third of superstitious participants in the 4000 strong survey, said that they felt personally guilty if they didn’t perform their rituals only to then see England lose! And 37 per cent said they would pray for England’s victory, even if they are not religiously inclined.
Despite all this, it’s the superstitious antics of the players that are the most perverse. E.g.:
– Gary Neville refusing to change his boots on field and belt and shoes off field, whilst he was on a winning streak.
– Gary Lineker who would keep the same shirt all game if he scored, but change it at half time if he hadn’t.
– Dean Ashton who score a hat trick (3 goals) after once eating bourbon chocolate biscuits the previous night, and so continued to eat several bourbons the night before every game.
– Shay Given keeping a container of Holy Water in the net of his goal.
It was 1966 World Cup Winner Alan Ball who summed this craziness up thus: “I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe you need it”